Cardiff City and Leeds United have a good rivalry, and have seen a fair few battles in the past decade. Whilst the Bluebirds have soared through the leagues and appear to harbour realistic promortion hopes, the Whites fell from grace but are now progressing well and should do well in the Championship.
However, both sets of fans now share one common feature in that both clubs were brought to the edge of oblivion by one man: Peter Ridsdale. We laughed off the warnings from Leeds Utd fans when Ridsdale joined, after all – he made a good impression initially and stabilised the club.
We even sang his name when the Leeds fans jeered him. We complained at the arrogance and petulance when our Chairman was banned from the Leeds United directors box. I was firmly amongst those that thought Ridsdale’s role in Leeds’ demise had been exaggerated, or at least that he had learnt lessons.
Gradually, Ridsdale’s dealings caught up with him and it became clear he had not been entirely honest with us. Behind the scenes, the club was in dire financial trouble and the debts had spiralled out of control. This ended with creditors issuing winding-up petitions, not least the HMRC who far from ‘cage-rattling’ as Peter Ridsdale initially suggested, were pursuing all avenues to liquidate CCFC’s assets and reclaim the owed monies.
Significant unrest, fan protests and a Malaysian-led takeover made Ridsdale’s position untenable. He even tried to hold the club to ransom over his departure, demanding an exorbitant pay-off despite his lucrative salary and shares gifted to him. It seems, he was dealt short thrift by TG and colleagues and was forced to leave with his tail between his legs and reportedly suffering his own financial worries.
I stress that Cardiff City have been incredibly lucky. The one legacy Ridsdale did leave was a new stadium, albeit millions over budget and lacking the undersoil heating, grass growing lights and internal fittings. That, and Dave Jones’ assembled squad left us an attractive proposition to new investors who have been nothing short of amazing in their handling and commitment thus far.
Peter Ridsdale is currently looking for another British football club to take him on. Anybody associated with any such unfortunate club should take heed of the united voices of Leeds United, Cardiff City and the majority of Barnsley fans. Few will have any positive virtues to extol, unlike the man himself: Positive Publicity Pete. Thankfully no longer involved with the running of Cardiff City Football Club.
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